Le Blogue Broadbent

The real story behind latest Conservative attack on labour

The Conservative government's ongoing attack on unions — "a key driver in the creation of the middle class" — has reached a new milestone.

Bill C-525, the anti-union private member's bill tabled by a Conservative backbencher and backed enthusiastically by Stephen Harper and his cabinet, cleared a major legislative hurdle Wednesday night, when the bill passed Second Reading in the House of Commons. 

The bill borrows from Republican-style tactics in the United States to destabilize the labour movement and weaken the ability of unions to fight for fair wages and a shared prosperity.

C-525 proposes that a majority vote in favour of joining a union is no longer enough while letting a minority of the membership sign a petition to trigger a decertification vote. And by forcing a mandatory secret vote on employees who have already signed union cards, the bill makes the union certification process more difficult, allowing employers to intimidate employees.

This two-step process would put federal labour laws at odds with the rules in a number of Canada's provinces, where a "card check" of a majority of workers is enough to organize a union.

Wonder where this anti-labour agenda originates? It's not from the bill's author, Conservative MP Blaine Calkins. It goes much higher than that.

That's why the Prime Minister's Office meets so often with the anti-union lobby group Merit Canada. Maclean's Magazine looked at the Canada's lobbyist registry, and found that only five companies or organizations had more meetings with the PMO over a 12-month period.

Who Lobbies the PMO?

Photo: mfhiatt. Used under a Creative Commons BY 2.0 licence.